A new Android application released by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) and OpenWatch.net allows users to secretly record police encounters and automatically save their recordings to a public website for all to see.
Called “Police Tape,” the ACLU-NJ’s app builds on work done by OpenWatch.net with their “Cop Recorder” and “OpenWatch Recorder” programs, which essentially carry out the same functions, albeit in less polished form. ACLU-NJ’s release adds even more helpful content, like legal advice on citizens’ rights during police encounters.
“This app provides an essential tool for police accountability,” ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs said in an advisory. “Too often incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed. Here, the technology empowers citizens to place a check on police power directly.”
While the “Police Tape” app is currently available to all Android users, ACLU-NJ recommends that only New Jersey residents use it due to certain states still having a problem with citizens recording police in public. The app’s terms and conditions also recommend that users consult an attorney before publishing any recordings online.
A version of the app for iOS devices was still awaiting approval from Apple.
“Historically, vivid images of police mistreating citizens have seared our public consciousness and in some cases spurred important changes,” ACLU-NJ Policy Counsel Alexander Shalom explained. “Photos and video are critical to ensuring police accountability and police should know that the eyes of the public are on them at all times.”
This video was published to YouTube by the ACLU-NJ on July 2, 2012.